Derbyshire school meals uptake hits five year high

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More Derbyshire school children are choosing to eat school meals than at any time in the last five years.

Since television chef Jamie Oliver’s campaign prompted new Government nutritional guidelines on school meals in 2006, national take up has declined by 5.8 per cent in primary schools and 4.9 per cent in secondary schools.

However, figures for Derbyshire during the 2010-11 academic year show the highest percentage of children having school meals in both primary and secondary schools since new national indicators were introduced in 2005-06.

Councillor Mike Longden, Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for education, said: “We are delighted that more Derbyshire children are choosing to eat meals provided by our school meals service.

“We work hard to provide healthy and tasty menu choices which give children the nutrition and energy they need to succeed in the classroom.

“The five year increase may only seem slight but when set against the national decline it is an impressive achievement and we are determined to continue the good work.”

Much more of the food produced now uses locally sourced and organic ingredients – improving quality and keeping prices down.

In primary schools parents have been invited to join their children for lunch to see how school meals have improved. Themed menus and health promotion events also take place regularly.

In secondary schools, deli bars have been popular since their introduction at many schools and revamped dining halls have also made them a more attractive dining option.